Three Taverns Church

Resurrection Reality

9 Comments

“If the witness and proclamation of the priest is of truth, then the world is not what we think it is. Our modes of perception of reality and our definitions of reality are grossly deficient and distorted.

“The (priest) is one who takes the entire world view, the encompassing gestalt, turns it upside down, inside out, shakes it onto the floor so that we might know that what we take for granted, what we think is given reality, is but a mere fraction of the mystery.” – Michael Dwinell, Fire Bearer

This quote eloquently states a truth I tried to convey in my One Thing I Haven’t Surrendered series: If you and I truly believed Jesus is alive today we would see the world in a fundamentally different way; the lens through which we perceive our world would be shattered by the truth of the resurrection. Perhaps this is why the various New Testament writers tried to describe in so many different ways the miracle of the resurrection: They were trying to describe the impossible with definitions and descriptors of a reality that had ceased to be. How do you explain the impossible in common language?

If Jesus is alive today then there is a power at work in the universe which we have misunderstood. In our modern obsession with all things measured and quantified there is no room for the resurrection. Life begins, and life ends. Without a living, breathing Jesus to observe and test our modern minds simply cannot comprehend how a body can be tortured and murdered, but somehow be made alive again. It makes absolutely no sense; it is not possible. In a place deep inside ourselves we wonder: Was the resurrection was a fraud, or perhaps a metaphor? Maybe the apostles meant the ‘spirit’ of Jesus’ teachings lives on in us, we reason. However, Jesus’ disciples were very clear: They witnessed a living, breathing, eating Jesus after he was publicly murdered.  Jesus’ disciples were so convinced of the resurrection that many of them were later murdered for failing to recant their testimony.

If Jesus is alive today then I believe the modern, or post-modern, or missional, or whatever-you-want-to-call-it-church is…wrong. Wrong in the sense that it is an institution like any other in the world; wrong in the sense that it confirms the limited scope of a non-resurrection reality; wrong in the sense that it provides a safe haven for people who only want to feel good with a magical prayer that somehow grants them an immortality they don’t even believe in.

If we really believed that Jesus is alive today:

  • Would we approach communal worship as an obligation, or worse, a form of entertainment?
  • Would we keep tabs on who is and isn’t at church?
  • Would we need small groups to prop up our lagging faith with another Beth Moore book?
  • Would we keep telling ourselves that our sins aren’t as bad as their sins?
  • Would we really care about the opinions and doctrine of other churches?

If  Jesus is alive today, then everything I think I know is wrong. The way I’m living my life is wrong. The way I worship God is wrong. The way I perceive reality, the words I use, the burdens I bear, the fears I carry, and my concern over my standing with other men is ALL WRONG.

9 thoughts on “Resurrection Reality

  1. What are you trying to say here? Is this just the flesh ranting or…? You do seem to be making a lot of assumptions about churchgoers. Just a ploy to get a reaction/response? I can’t tell…and maybe I have taken the bait. I’ll risk it.

    • Mary, I appreciate that you are willing to be honest with your questions. I’ll try to answer your questions in the order they were asked:
      1. Read the quote again, then read the last paragraph of my post for a ‘summary statement’
      2. I’m curious what you mean by ‘the flesh ranting…’?
      3. I always hope readers engage with the material, though I wouldn’t call it a ‘ploy’. A ploy suggests that the author has an apparent main point, while secretly holding a secondary purpose unknown to his readers. I have no secret, second point: I just want to challenge your thinking.
      4. Yes, I’m making assumptions. Would you care to provide some alternative explanations for these observable trends in the contemporary church?
      5. I believe we’ve talked about this before, but here goes: My posts are usually a mixture of personal reflection and critical analysis of the church. Your responses, as I have observed them, tend to focus only on me. You use lots of ‘you’ statements, but never speak about your own perspectives. I would love to hear what you think beyond simply questioning what I think. I’m going to challenge you again to share your own experiences as a way of expanding and enriching this conversation. If you don’t think it’s appropriate to share personal information in a public forum, I’ll ask that you cease posting comments here.

  2. I just reread your post and I still can’t figure out what you are trying to say.

  3. “Would we approach communal worship as an obligation, or worse, a form of entertainment?”
    Oh man, you read my mind, brother.

  4. In your reply #2 (above) to me you said, “If you don’t think it’s appropriate to share personal information in a public forum, I’ll ask that you cease posting comments here”. What I recall saying in one of my comments was, “I don’t consider it appropriate to broadcast my personal issues over the Internet”. If others want to, that is up to them. I don’t think this should exclude me from commenting on other broader issues being discussed.

    Getting back to the Resurrection Reality post—

    My questions ARE my honest sharing.
    I did reread your blog a second time and repost as I commented in Reply #3 BEFORE your reply #2, expressing myself with “I” statements. I still don’t have a clear understanding of what your point is.

    If you are speaking from the perspective of a person who doubts or doesn’t believe Jesus is alive, I can see why such a person would be so negative in their evaluation of their observations of people who identify themselves as Christians, and especially the churchgoers. I realize that people “go to church” for a variety of reasons. God is not worried about that. He knows the end from the beginning of each one’s life. As God said to one of His saintly followers back in the 1200’s, “I have so many ways to reach My people, the tongue cannot speak them all.”

    Is not one of the purposes of the church to be a place to GROW in our faith, even if it is only the size of a mustard seed? Is not all of life “church”? The question then is, who or what is our god?

  5. I’m sorry I’m not communicating my point clearly. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  6. Sorry to bring up an old post with another reply, but I’m getting caught up on your blog one message at a time. 🙂 In response to Mary, I have to answer two of her last three questions with an emphatic “no”. It is NOT one of the purposes of the church to be a place to grow in our faith. That is what life is for. We grow our faith as we live our lives, daily depending on God as our sole provider and redeemer. The church (both as a body of Believers and a physical location) is simply an opportunity to be taught in the Word, to be encouraged, and to otherwise become equipped to fulfill God’s plan for each of us in the furthering of His kingdom here on Earth. As such, all of life is not “church”. All of life is “mission”. It is the exercising of our faith. Just like a muscle only becomes stronger when it is stimulated, when it is worked and used, so our faith only grows when it is exercised. And unfortunately (and I lump myself into this same condition), the Western church has not done a very good job in the last 20 years or so in exercising its collective or individual faith. I think we are starting to see a small-scale revival here in the USA (primarily because things have recently been tougher economically and socially for more and more of us), and I think we are looking at a great opportunity to return to the message and attitude of the 1st-Century church.

    • Well I think we know where I stand with regard to the contemporary church. Pastors talk a big game about becoming “Acts 2” churches, but unfortunately you can’t be an “Acts 2” church if you have a church building, paid church staff, no persecution, and wealthy parishioners.

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